Tuesday, March 25, 2014

It's not like I was going to eat it.

Mom, today I learned that Evelyn has taken frosting sneakery to a new level. I'm not even mad. That's just impressive.

Monday, March 24, 2014

I would have been down in the dumps...

Mom, on Sunday, I learned that when you're faced with this...

You're really grateful for these. Until you learn they have no toilet paper...

And then you thank God, angels, and the universe you keep a stash of these in your car.

(Note to self: Hand sanitizer. Start keeping hand sanitizer in the car.)

Monday, March 17, 2014

I've never been good at knowing my limits. I do things I don't really know how to do, and it turns out well often enough that I keep plunging into new territory without the know-how and hoping for the best. This worked for me when I decided to refinish a hardwood floor using only YouTube and blog posts as a guide.

When things don't turn out so well, my brain conveniently forgets the failures and focuses on the successes, enabling me to keep barreling on ahead regardless of whether or not I should. It's called confirmation bias, and I'm really good at it. (How would I know if I'm not?)

Unfortunately, last night, my attempt at ignorant, beginner's luck glory fell flatter than a tone deaf soprano, and this time it left a victim. My failure caused my newly 14 year old Cate to look at me with such sad disgust, I was sure I'd ruined her birthday. In fact, I think I may have retroactively ruined every birthday before it, including the day 14 years ago I spent 13 and a half excruciating hours getting her here. (I feel like I need to apologize to HER for her painful induced labor.)

To prevent more tragedies like this one, I'm documenting the sad story here so my brain won't repress it in favor of happier memories. I'm here to confess and make amends. My crime? I ruined Cate's birthday cake. I ruined it, but good, and I'm pretty sure my daughter is never, ever going to forgive me for it.

Don't blame Cate or label her an ungrateful teen. The cake in question was hideous. My other kids looked at it and immediately suggested I submit it to online fail collections, cake and otherwise.

When I decided to blog my sad cake exploits, I hooked my iPhone to my computer to transfer the picture I took of it (the sad, sad picture that never got better, no matter what I did to edit it). Clicking "yes" to an unfamiliar question promptly deleted all the pics I'd taken today. Obviously, I don't know how to use my iPhone any more than I know how to decorate cakes, so this didn't really surprise me.

Any dismay I felt was quickly overshadowed by relief. I think my actual words were "Oh, sweet holy cannelloni of dumb luck awesomeness! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"

I didn't actually want anyone to see the cake. I joked with a coworker that I could describe the monstrosity in 100% accurate terms, and you'd all think I was exaggerating and imagine a cake that looks way better.

A few hours later, my lost photos miraculously reappeared on my phone again. Like a zombie reanimating and beginning its quest for human flesh, the cake picture returned from the dead. Maybe it's like that video in the movie "The Ring". It wants to be shared and will send a creepy dead girl to kill me if I don't pass it along. So...here it is.

(FYI: I still don't want you to see the cake, and I'm adding this other birthday picture here so this post will at least have a different thumbnail when it's shared on Facebook. And to give you a few more seconds to change your mind.)

Gah. Okay. Here's the stupid cake! Are you HAPPY?!

I'm...I mean, it's possessed.
I was going for "whimsical." I got "mentally deranged and at risk for homicide" instead. Oh. The. Humanity. Don't cry for me, blog readers. Cry for my poor middle child who is wondering what she did to deserve this and whether or not it's too late to join another family or run away with the circus.

It wasn't all sadness and dislike. Richard, ever the kind, bright-side-looker-on-er, excitedly exclaimed, "It's Seuss-ian!" However, he's sweet to a fault and frequently love drunk, so I don't ever take his word for the things I do. (If I did, I'd be insufferable. Well, more than I already am.)

Also, the problem with calling this leaning tower of craptitude "Suess-ian" is that there are talented people in the world who know how to make Dr. Suess-style cakes. They do so on purpose and their cakes look nothing like this. Accidentally making a disaster like the one above and THEN labeling it Suess-ian doesn't really make it Suess-ian. It just makes it sad.

Now that you have my confession, I must ask for forgiveness.

Dearest Cate...Catybug...Mini-me,

Remember when you were four and you cut off all your beautiful, curly hair the day before we took family pictures? We're even.


I guess I apologize as well as I decorate cakes.

At least Richard will like it...

Friday, March 14, 2014

Is this thing on?

Mom, today I learned that I can blog from my new iPhone. I can't figure out how to do it correctly, but I can blog.  What I really learned is that Richard is no fan of touch screens, BUT he perks right up at the words "spreadsheet app" because he's a big old nerd, so we're good.

(Also, in case you missed it, iPhone!!!)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I had several possible Mother Unload posts in mind, but staring down the barrel of the two barium-sulfate smoothies I'll be drinking tomorrow morning made my choice for me.

Pharmacist says "Drink them cold. Drink them fast. Use a straw."

The last time I made big strides in changing my lifestyle/eating better/exercising, someone told me they could never do what I was doing because, "I want to enjoy my life!" To her, enjoying life meant allowing herself to eat whatever she craved and not worrying about the calorie counts, carbs, fat, or chemicals. The restrictions I'd placed on my eating and the obligation I'd added to my life to exercise daily seemed to her to be too restrictive, too harsh, or at least, they didn't leave room for a happy, enjoyable existence.

She had a point. Junk food tastes good. It's sweet and creamy and smooth and crunchy and salty and savory and made to order.  And fast!  So fast! You don't have to do much of anything to eat junk food. It's just there, waiting for you, in all its junky deliciousness. (Gas station nachos with banana peppers? Yes, please!)

Exercise is annoying. You sweat. Your face gets red. You have to schedule it just right or else you're stuck taking a second shower (and having to do your hair again...gah). It's hard and can hurt and makes you sore the next day. It can be boring and monotonous and can feel pointless when you plateau. Sometimes, you look completely ridiculous doing it. (This is why I don't do Zumba in groups. No one needs to see me flail like that.)

So, yeah, I absolutely agree that there is enjoyment inherent in eating whatever you want and avoiding exercise.

Do you know what isn't enjoyable in an enjoyable life like that?

- Worrying that you won't fit on an amusement park ride and will be asked to get off. (It hasn't happened yet, but who needs the stress?)

- Sitting out every active game at family events because you know you can't keep up with fitter family members. (I'd never heard of Ultimate Frisbee until I met my in-laws. If I played, they'd have to rename it Freakishly Pitiful Frisbee.)

- Leaving early when walking to a store or doctor's office so you can hide in the bathroom and stop huffing and puffing before you have to actually talk to anyone. (And flushing the toilet repeatedly so people can't hear your shame. Sorry, environment...)

- Joint pain associated with the added strain of extra weight. (If my knees could talk, they'd say, "GYAAAAAAHHHHHHH! What the heck, Sarah?!)

- Shopping for clothes. (So many tears.)

- Seeing the worry on your doctor's face when the fatty liver disease you reversed 2 years ago has come back and is worse. (Don't fire me, Dr. Shelby. Remember, I make you laugh.)

Being sick isn't enjoyable, and while not every overweight person is unhealthy, a lot of overweight people are.

I am sick.

I can tell you without hesitation that there isn't a food I've enjoyed in the last two years that is worth this. No delectable piece of cheesecake is worth the intermittent discomfort/pain I feel on my right side, the elevated liver enzymes showing up in my blood work, or the ominous looking spots that show up on an ultrasound of my liver. No $2 serving of gas station nachos is worth the $1300 we'll be paying (after insurance) for the CT scan I'm having tomorrow. Nothing is worth the non-alcoholic cirrhosis I'll develop if we don't fix this now.

If you're avoiding healthy eating and exercise because you want to "enjoy life," learn from my fail. Let me be your cautionary tale. Let me be your After School Special for the day. Hurting your body has consequences, and they're not enjoyable.

Also, if the healthy food you're eating isn't enjoyable, you're doing it wrong. 2011 taught me there is a WORLD of delicious and healthy food out there, and there are at least 8 trillion blogs devoted to teaching people how to prepare it.  It also taught me that the more you eat healthy foods, the more you begin to enjoy them and crave them and the less you want the junk food you used to crave. (You'll never stop craving cheesecake, though. That would be stupid.)

If the exercise you're doing isn't enjoyable, try something else. Find something that you like and do that, even if you look stupid. In high school, I got my coach to agree to letting me skip the mile instead of run it (like a little girl in a classic Disney movie...skipping along with my friend Gina and singing "Tra-la-la-la-la-la!" the whole time). I looked like a first class idiot, but I came in under the required time and got full credit (and exercise). On days I don't run on my treadmill, I'm in my room, dancing around like a crazy person while I watch something funny on Hulu.

I don't have much else. If you want to send some energy my way as I try to heal my overworked liver (again), I wouldn't kick you out of my blog readership. If you've done the barium-sulfate smoothie thing and have some tips for getting it/keeping it down, I'd welcome them. If you want to be my "looking like an idiot exercise buddy," come over and flail with me!

I think laughing at someone else would be really...enjoyable.

(I completely forgot to mention that I'm down 20 pounds since I had my wisdom teeth out 7 or so weeks ago. Hey, everyone! I've lost 20 pounds! Send me brownies!  No, wait...don't do that...)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Mom, today I learned that Cate CAN take a mature, non-silly picture on science fair day.

As long as she gets to take this picture first.

(I also learned that an Honorable Mention award in the district science fair is NOT something she wants to be congratulated about...so I'm definitely not posting this to congratulate her for her awesome Honorable Mention award for her amazing project. Nope, definitely not congratulating my smart and talented daughter. Wouldn't dream of it.)